Recognizing More Than Two Parents May Have Repercussions , Cautions Denver Custody Attorney
Denver, CO (Law Firm Newswire) October 11, 2012 - Bill SB 1476, is currently in front of the California State Assembly, which would allow judges to recognize more than two parents for one child.
The legislation has passed the California Senate and is slated to be sent to the governor's office.
"This bill currently has no effect on Colorado family law," stated Denver custody lawyer Bill Thode. "Though it will be interesting to see how this may play out later in terms of divorce and custody issues in other states." If passed, SB 1476 would be similar to legislation in Delaware, Maine, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia.
Sen. Mark Leno (D) originally introduced the bill in response to a Court of Appeals ruling that stated courts did not have the authority to recognize more than two parents for a child, and that the legislature must grant them that ability. The Court of Appeals ruling overturned a lower court decision, which stated that a family court could recognize more than two legal parents, if and when necessary, to protect the best interest of the child.
SB 1476 would allow a judge freedom to decide on a case-by-case basis if there was cause to recognize more than two parents, and would not change California's legal requirements, nor would it expand the definition of who may legally qualify as a parent. By eliminating the current limit of two parents per child, the law would ostensibly be used in cases where identifying a third parent would allow for an additional custody option when deciding on placement for a child.
Opponents of the bill have stated it might result in children becoming confused or being raised in a too-lax family structure. Sen. Leno stated that the bill was instigated after a 2011 state appellate court case in which a child had a lesbian couple as parents, as well as a known biological father. When one parent went to prison and other parent was hospitalized, the child’s biological father attempted to step in. Instead, the state took custody, ruling that the biological father was unable to be named legal guardian due to California’s current law, which allows a limit of two parents per child.
Thode Law Firm, P.C.
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Denver, CO 80206
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